The US Treasury Department has added 18 ships to its list of vessels suspected of illicit practices in association with North Korea.
The Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) noted that inclusion on the list did not mean that a ship or its owners were being put under sanctions.
|AN SAN 1||7303803|
|CHON MA SAN||8660313|
|CHON MYONG 1||8712362|
|CHONG RIM 3||8665131|
|JI SONG 6||8898740|
|KU BONG RYONG||8983404|
|KUM PIT 1||8613578|
|KUM UN SAN||8720436|
|MA DU SAN||8021579|
|MU BONG 1||8610461|
|MYONG RYU 1||8532413|
|NAM SAN 8||8122347|
|PU RYONG (aka KUM UN SAN 3)||8705539|
|RYE SONG GANG 1||7389704|
|SAEBYOL (aka CHONG RIM 2)||8916293|
|SAM JONG 1||8405311|
|SAM JONG 2||7408873|
|SAM MA 2||8106496|
|TONG HUNG 5||8151415|
|UN PHA 2||8966535|
|WAN HENG 11 (AKA KUM JIN GANG 3)||8791667|
|YU JONG 2||8604917|
|YU PHYONG 5||8605026|
|YU SON (aka Y CHUN)||8691702|
OFAC said that, while some vessels on this list might be property in which a blocked person had an interest, the inclusion of a vessel in this annex did not constitute a determination by OFAC that the vessel had been identified as property in which a blocked person had an interest.
Of perhaps more interest on Friday was a tweet from the US President, in which he said that he had intervened to lift sanctions on two Chinese freight forwarders accused of trading illegally with North Korea.
“It was announced today by the US Treasury that additional large scale Sanctions would be added to those already existing Sanctions on North Korea,” the president wrote. “I have today ordered the withdrawal of those additional Sanctions!” he tweeted.
The US Treasury had not made an announcement on Friday, so it was assumed that the tweet referred to the Thursday announcement. Apart from adding 18 ships, OFAC had added two more companies to its sanctions blacklist. The entities affected by Treasury’s action Thursday were Dalian Haibo International Freight and Liaoning Danxing International Forwarding, both located in Dalian, China.
OFAC alleged that in early 2018 Dalian Haibo shipped cargo from Dalian to a North Korean government buyer in Nampo, using North Korean-flagged vessels. Liaoning Danxing allegedly used deceptive practices to help EU-based North Korean operatives buy goods for the North Korean regime.
Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin, when announcing the listing said that OFAC would “continue to enforce our sanctions, and we are making it explicitly clear that shipping companies employing deceptive tactics to mask illicit trade with North Korea expose themselves to great risk”.
The President then ordered the newly announced North Korea-related sanctions to be lifted. When asked for an explanation, White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that “President Trump likes Chairman Kim, and he doesn’t think these sanctions will be necessary,”
John E Smith, former head of OFAC, told the New York Times that. “for an administration that continues to surprise, this is another first – the president of the US undercutting his own sanctions agency for imposing sanctions on Chinese actors supporting North Korea”, adding that “it’s a win for North Korea and China and a loss for U.S. credibility.”
In a statement Friday morning, China’s foreign ministry said that it would “launch an investigation according to domestic laws” into any possible violations that Dalian Haibo and Liaoning Danxing may have committed.